The Acting Mayor of eThekwini, Councillor Fawzia Peer, along with Top business women, Margaret Hirsch (COE of the Hirsch Group) and Business Coach, Marlene Powell were among the guests of honour and key note speakers who attended the High Tea and fact finding morning that was held recently by the Femme Forte Women’s Empowerment Group in a rented church hall in Chatsworth. The project which was set up three months ago to teach women skills in sewing, catering, bead work and agriculture, was founded and is being run by award winning business woman, Jacqueline Pillay who grew up in Chatsworth. Explained Jacqueline “This is a non-profit community project and it would be wonderful to see the whole community getting behind it to help these women who are doing their very best to raise their families on very little money. It would be wonderful if we could gradually uproot poverty from our country by facilitating proper distribution of wealth per household. Femme Forte is here to help with that concept.”
The Acting Mayor congratulated Jacqueline for being an agent for “positive change” in the Chatsworth community. She said that she was extremely proud to support women who are supporting women in their community. “Our country has the highest incidence of rape and domestic violence in the world. Poverty and domestic violence are hitting us hard. Women have many burdens placed on them in their daily lives and are said to be the shock absorbers for poverty. Projects like this will benefit the community hugely and I feel strongly that land for a free standing building to house Femme Forte be made available as soon as possible so that more women can learn skills that will help them put food on the table and give a solid education to their children.”
Business Coach, Marlene Powell said that Femme Forte was the perfect environment for every woman who walks through their doors to be protected in a safe and nurturing environment and to enable them to perform to their full potential and help them believe that anything in life is possible. “When they have learnt their skills they can go on to learn which are the right tools they’ll need to start their own businesses so they can become financially independent.” She said.
Margaret congratulated Jacqueline for her foresight and understanding of the importance of creating a place where women could learn skills to help them become financially independent. “You have created an environment that is conducive to everyone achieving their full potential and it would be wonderful to see more of these fantastic projects springing up in communities throughout South Africa.” She said.

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